Scottish Bakers, who support bakers throughout Scotland, has welcomed the Scottish Government’s announcement that changes are being made to self-isolation rules for close contacts of Covid-19 cases.

The Scottish Government has announced changes to self-isolation rules to allow essential staff in ‘critical industry sectors’ to return to work to maintain lifeline services and critical national infrastructure.

Essential workers in a critical industry may be able to choose not to self-isolate if they are a close contact of a coronavirus case provided:

  • their employer has been granted an exemption under the critical worker exemption scheme
  • they have volunteered not to self-isolate following a risk assessment of their personal circumstances.

The Scottish Government has stated that strict conditions must be met before employees can return to work. According to advice published on the Scottish Government’s website, staff must:

  • have had their second COVID-19 vaccination more than 14 days before returning
  • have a vaccine certificate to show they are fully vaccinated
  • not have symptoms of COVID-19
  • have evidence of a negative PCR test
  • take daily lateral flow tests for up to 10 days after being exposed to the virus
  • fully comply with any PPE requirements, hand hygiene and other infection control measures.

Applications can be made via the Scottish Government website and will be required to demonstrate:

  • that the organisation meets the definition of Critical National Infrastructure
  • how self-isolation is impacting critical functions and services
  • what steps have already been taken to address this pressure
  • the impact of no action
  • the scope of the requested exemption – location, number of staff etc
  • whether they are currently engaging with a local incident management team regarding outbreak management.

Exemptions, the Scottish Government confirmed, will be made on a temporary basis and last only for as long as there is an immediate risk to business or service continuity.

Scottish Bakers chief executive, Alasdair Smith stated: “With businesses large and small having been hit hard already by the Test and Trace self-isolation rules, we have been making it clear for some time that this was not sustainable, so we welcome that this has been recognised by both the Scottish and Westminster Governments.”

Smith added: “It is my sincere hope that the application process is swift and does not add an additional administrative burden for our members, who continue to suffer from the impacts of Covid.”